No. 10/11 Kentucky Wildcats (5-1) vs. Indiana Hoosiers (2-3)
Saturday, Dec. 11 - 1:30 p.m. ET
Freedom Hall - Louisville, Ky.
Location: Freedom Hall - Louisville, Ky.
TV: CBS - Clark Kellogg & Craig Bolerjack
Radio: UK Radio Network, Sirius Satellite Radio
Live Stats Live Audio
An impressive defensive performance helped Kentucky get back on track following a disheartening loss to North Carolina. Now the Wildcats will look to pick up their play on the offensive end when they take on struggling Indiana at Louisville's Freedom Hall on Saturday.
The No. 10 Wildcats (5-1) limited Morehead State to its lowest point total since 1995 on Wednesday night in a 71-40 victory at Rupp Arena. Kentucky held Morehead State without a field goal for the first 8:53 of the second half, allowed the Eagles to shoot only 27.3 percent from the field overall and forced 24 turnovers.
The victory followed last Saturday's 91-78 defeat at Chapel Hill. The Wildcats fell behind by 17 before cutting the deficit to three, only to watch then-No. 9 North Carolina pull away for the win.
Kentucky coach Tubby Smith, however, wasn't happy with some aspects of his team's play in Wednesday's rout - particularly on offense.
"Defensively, we did the job," Smith said. "We stopped some of the easy baskets and contested shots. We didn't foul as much, so those were some of the positive things we did.
"I'd like to see us shoot the ball better," he added, noting the Wildcats' 3-of-18 effort from 3-point range and 39.4 percent overall mark.
Kelenna Azubuike was one Wildcat who didn't struggle with his shooting. He finished 8-of-13 from the field and scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half, his third straight game with at least 20 points. The junior swingman leads Kentucky with 15.7 points per game and is shooting 49.4 percent from the field.
Chuck Hayes had 10 points and 10 rebounds, his fourth double-double of the season for Kentucky, which opened the second half with a 20-0 run. Reserve center Shagari Alleyne had 11 points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots - all season highs.
"We had that spurt, but sometimes you're not playing as smart as you should have played," Smith said. "We weren't using our basketball IQ."
Indiana (2-3) has to be hoping that Smith's squad continues to have problems offensively. The Hoosiers will be facing an opponent ranked in the Top 10 for the third time in four games - and are looking to avoid a fourth straight loss.
The Hoosiers opened the season with wins over Indiana State and Western Illinois, but fell 70-63 to then-No. 9 North Carolina in Bloomington on Dec. 1. They then traveled to Hartford and lost 74-69 to No. 7 Connecticut last Saturday before losing 55-45 at home to 4-1 Notre Dame.
Like Kentucky, Indiana used strong defense to stay competitive in all three games. The Hoosiers held the Irish to 40.8 percent shooting in the first half and allowed them just six points - on consecutive 3-pointers by Chris Quinn - in the final 11:17 of the period.
Indiana, however, also shares Kentucky's problems on the offensive end. The Hoosiers shot just 30.2 percent in the first half against Notre Dame. They endured a scoring drought of six minutes and two others of more than three minutes, and coach Mike Davis said his team's problems are simply a case of "missing open shots."
"North Carolina's defense was good and UConn's was good. Notre Dame last night wasn't as good, but we just missed shots," said Davis, whose team is allowing only 62.2 points per game. "Facing a team like Kentucky, who has that reputation, our guys just need to step up and make them. If you don't make shots, you are definitely in trouble."
Kentucky will be playing the first of two straight games at Freedom Hall. Following Saturday's nationally televised contest, the Wildcats take on 13th-ranked Louisville in the schools' annual showdown Dec. 18.
The Wildcats have dominated the Hoosiers of late, winning nine of the last 10 meetings to take a 25-21 series lead.
Background Location: Bloomington, Ind. Enrollment: 38,903 Conference: Big Ten Nickname: Hoosiers Colors: Cream & Crimson Head Coach: Mike Davis Record at IU: 83-53 Probable Starters KENTUCKY Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Cl. PPG RPG Notes F 44 Chuck Hayes 6-6 242 Sr. 11.5 10.0 Fourth double-double vs. Morehead F 24 Kelenna Azubuike 6-5 208 Jr. 15.7 5.3 Three-straight 20-point games C 33 Randolph Morris 6-10 266 Fr. 9.5 4.8 Was 4-of-7 from floor vs. Morehead G 4 Rajon Rondo 6-1 171 Fr. 7.3 *2.5 Team-high 16 steals on the year G 22 Patrick Sparks 6-0 180 Jr. 11.3 *4.8 Leads SEC in assist/turnover ratio INDIANA Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Cl. PPG RPG Notes F 3 D.J. White 6-9 230 Fr. 9.0 3.6 Five blocks vs. Notre Dame F 0 Pat Ewing Jr. 6-8 215 So. 5.8 5.4 Son of legend Patrick Ewing G 24 Robert Vaden 6-5 200 Fr. 12.2 6.2 Went to same prep school as Obrzut G 04 Bracey Wright 6-3 200 Jr. 15.2 4.0 28 pts vs. UConn last week G 22 Marshall Strickland 6-2 195 Jr. 9.8 *4.2 21 assists, 12 turnovers this year *assists per game